EXCLUSIVE: Training ‘preferable, but not required’ for out of state cops in Standing Rock

Standing Rock, North Dakota (TFC) – According to documents obtained by The Fifth Column, the Morton County Sheriff’s department openly recruited untrained officers to supplement the forces backing the construction of the pipeline in North Dakota through the use of EMAC (Emergency Management Assistance Compact) agreements. The EMAC is an agreement between all fifty states and U.S. territories to share resources during times of emergency. An EMAC was used to procure resources from three more states as well as the possibility of untrained officers being used to handle what the department defined in the statement provided to TFC as “civil unrest.” 

On October 7th, North Dakota requested assistance from other states to handle the escalating nature of the demonstrations at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The resources were procured through an EMAC. Public Information Officer (PIO) of Morton County, Robert Keller described the use of the EMAC as, ”primarily used for snow, disasters, flooding, tornadoes.” For the EMAC to go into effect, a state of emergency has to be declared by the state’s governor who issues, and then must activate the EMAC. The distressed state then requests assistance through a form known as REQ-A. The states who have accepted the offer then provide resources, which are agreed upon in the REQ-A as a legally binding contract.

The impact of this establishes how each state’s government views the situation in which they sign for, and according to information provided by Morton County PIO Cecily Fong, the department stated,

“Officers will be assisting in a situation involving civil unrest and criminal activities related to opposition of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) project, primarily in southern Morton County in North Dakota.”

The full information requested by The Fifth Column as such, “1. The EMAC wording 2. REQ-A sent to each state, and 3. The amount of officers and the materials sent from each state to North Dakota.”

The information received and given by Cecily Fong lacked: the official EMAC wording provided in documentation during the authorization process that the state of North Dakota used to declare a state of emergency, in any form of digital copy of the physical documentation as signed by the governor, the REQ-A sent to each state, and the amount of officers and the materials sent from each state to North Dakota. This information was agreed to be given to The Fifth Column, on the record, by Robert Keller.

The information provided by Cecily Fong contained, 







South Dakota



Officers will be assisting in a situation involving civil unrest and criminal activities related to opposition of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) project, primarily in southern Morton County in North Dakota. Officers will be assigned to perform one of the following duties within the Quick Response Force (QRF).

Mobile Field Force (MFF)

Immediate Action Team (IAT)

Recon Team

Arrest Team

Transport Team

Patrol within Morton County

Traffic Control

Requesting Agency will reimburse wages, to include overtime, for officers deployed to North

Dakota but not back-fill at home station.

Desired deployment is 14 days on site with 2 travel days for a total of 16 days. Possible early

demob after 9-10 days

Additional Skills and Equipment (if available):

1.) Riot Control Equipment (helmet/baton/shield/gas mask/MFF uniform if issued one.)

2.) Winter weather clothing if issued. (October & November is very unpredictable for weather in North Dakota.)

3.) 40/37mm chemical munitions launcher if officer is a certified operator.

4.) Vehicle (If available)

  1. A 4 x 4 marked vehicle is preferred, but not required.
  2. 1 vehicle for every 2 deputies/officers.

5.) Preferable, but not required, officers be mobile field force trained (i.e. riot control, civil

disturbance) and deploy as a team. [Emphasis added] ”

Image: Public Domain (FIle photo)

Image: Public Domain (FIle photo)

An Oct. 23 news release from the Morton County Sheriff’s Department stated that six states had accepted the request. These states were: Wisconsin, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wyoming, Indiana, and Nebraska.

The statement provided by Fong cited an additional three states that have not been disclosed since the Oct. 23 news release.

The Oct. 23 news release cited an Oct. 7  news release in which the Morton County Sheriff’s Department first announced the state of North Dakota had requested for aid via the EMAC. The Oct. 7 release also noted that Wisconsin had responded to the request.

Founder of police watchdog group, Copwatch, Jacob Crawford found that,

”In order to justify utilizing EMAC, language such as ‘civil unrest, criminal activity, and riots’ would have to be used as it implies that not only are law enforcement at risk, but so is the general public.”

Expert opinion from The Fifth Column editor, former military contractor, and former tactical instructor Justin King is as follows,

“The real concern is this department’s willingness to accept and field untrained officers. The phrase “preferable, but not required” in regards to proper training for the situation speaks volumes. From the use of the water cannon in freezing temperatures to the grenades being thrown with their spoons taped down to the journalists being shot, It was like they had no idea how to operate or conduct themselves. Tactically, untrained officers put the public and other officers at risk.”